OCSD Superintendent Dr. Mathis Calvin III shared a document with the community detailing more than a dozen specific areas for services, learning and pandemic-related safety measures that are planned for when students return Sept. 8.
“Our goal for the 2021-22 school year is to return as many of our students back to full-time for ‘in-person’ learning while also providing all extracurricular opportunities students had available prior to COVID-19,” said Calvin, who noted the district’s re-opening plans are based on recommendations from the district’s medical director and updated CDC guidance for schools.
Citing the significant learning and social-emotional needs of students, Calvin said the district believes it’s “imperative to return all of its students to school five days per week for ‘in-person’ learning right away.”
While the goal is for all students to return in-person, students with a documented medical illness may submit a doctor’s note and the district will conduct a health review to determine the student’s appropriate supports and educational program, he added. Parents and guardians are asked to complete the online survey by Aug. 22.
All students, staff and visitors are required to wear a mask at all times while indoors, however masks are optional when outdoors, officials said. Mask breaks will be provided for students throughout the day as needed.
In addition, the district will keep with the most up to date guidance on cleaning and sanitization, and will follow the CDC and state health department recommendations for social distancing. This involves three feet of social distancing in classrooms where possible, six feet of social distancing in cafeterias, both vocal and instrumental music spaces and during all physical education classes.
All Buccaneer interscholastic sports teams will be practicing and having contests throughout the year, however Calvin noted offerings are subject to change based on COVID-19 health risks or concerns. The same is true for all extra-curricular clubs and intramural programs, he added.
Below are other major notes from the letter, which is available on the district website, Oswego.org:
- All schools will return to their normal operating schedule in the fall, with Oswego High School and Oswego Middle School running 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and elementary schools from 8:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
- Transportation will be provided for any students who need it, and all students and staff on busses will no longer be required to socially distance but must wear a mask. A transportation survey is available on the OCSD website and parents are asked to complete the survey by Aug. 22 for planning purposes.
- Free breakfast and lunch will be again available to all students, and OCSD will provide computer technology for all in kindergarten through 12th grade. A WiFi mobile hotspot will also be provided for students who need them.
- All students, staff and visitors will be required to have temperature checks taken prior to entering our busses, offices or school buildings. Students and staff will be required to complete a weekly screening form each Monday. This form must be completed prior to arrival to school, via ParentSquare.
Calvin said the district has been busy developing preliminary plans based on possible reopening scenarios provided by the state or health department. However, late last week the governor’s office and department of health said they would not be providing any guidance on reopening.
“This news was surprising, given the amount of time districts have been awaiting this guidance,” said Calvin.
Subsequently, school districts were notified by the Oswego County Health Department that they too were not providing reopening guidance to school districts, Calvin said, noting they were instead told to consult OCSD’s individual medical director on reopening strategies.
While Calvin is hopeful COVID-19 and the delta variant are short-lived and restrictions will be lifted, he stressed it’s possible things may change based on community spread and any official guidance that does come in.
“Should changes to our plan become necessary, we will update everyone as soon as we are able,” the superintendent said.